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Carlos: Esperon’s order to block Bulatlat, other sites still under review

National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos is conducting a review on the previous administration’s request to block over 20 websites it claimed to have links to the leftist group.

“That is under review and I think there will be some legal aspects there so I will not comment on that matter for the meanwhile,” Carlos told reporters in a press briefing on Friday.

It can be recalled that, upon the request of former NSA Hermogenes Esperon, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the internet service providers (ISP) to block 23 websites allegedly involved with “communist terrorists.”

Included were the websites of progressive groups Save Our Schools Network, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Pamalakaya Pilipinas, and BAYAN as well as independent news organizations Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly.

"They have established a pervasive online presence through their websites that they continually use to publish propaganda and misinformation campaigns in order to malign the Philippine government, recruit new members, and to solicit funds from local and international sources," said Esperon.

Bulatlat filed a plea for a temporary restraining order against the NTC’s directive but it was junked by a Quezon City court on Thursday.

Carlos earlier denounced “red tagging” saying labeling individuals as communists is an “unproductive” practice.

She stressed that the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. would instead address the root causes of insurgency and would provide opportunities to members of the armed struggle who would decide to go back to the mainstream.

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) decided Friday to recommend to Marcos the offering of amnesty to address the communist insurgency.

‘Not weaponizing anti-terror law’

National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Commissioner Allen Capuyan maintained that they are “not weaponizing” the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, saying the NTF-ELCAC is in a “balanced direction for those who continue to fight government.”

“We are not weaponizing the anti-terror law," he said, adding that charges are filed based on the situation on the ground.

Meanwhile, Assistant Solicitor General Angelita Miranda said as long as an individual does not commit an overt crime, they are safe.

“As long as you don’t commit an overt act even how evil your mind is, you cannot be prosecuted. Even if there is Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, a person is safe, unless he does convert that evil mind into action,” she said.

Last December 2021, the SC declared two parts of the Anti-Terrorism Act as unconstitutional following months of oral arguments.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law in July 2020.—AOL, GMA News